Haddock & Leek Fish Cakes With Beetroot Tartare Sauce

by Carina Contini |
Published on

Preparation Time

45 minutes






Blend the cooked fishcake until smooth.

Finger Food

Chop one of the fishcakes into small chunks.


  • 400g floury potatoes

  • 500g haddock or coley

  • 500ml full-fat milk

  • salt

  • few peppercorns

  • 25g unsalted butter

  • 1 leek, thinly sliced

  • 2 small gherkins or cornichons,

  • cut into small cubes

  • 3 stems of dill, finely chopped

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 100g plain flour

  • 2 eggs

  • 150g fresh breadcrumbs

  • 100ml light olive oil

  • For the tartare sauce:

  • 200g mayonnaise

  • 100g crème fraîche

  • 25g capers in brine, rinsed and drained

  • 10g dill, chopped

  • 1 pickled beetroot, dried on kitchen paper and finely diced

These fishcakes will go down a storm with your baby, and you can smarten them up for grown-up dinners with the beetroot tartare sauce

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters and put in a pan with salt and cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

  2. Meanwhile, put the fish in a pan with the milk, a pinch of salt and the peppercorns. Bring to a simmer over a low heat. Remove from the heat and leave until the milk is tepid. Remove the fish from the milk and flake it, being careful to remove any skin and bones. Leave to cool.

  3. Discard the milk and the peppercorns. Drain the potatoes well and leave to dry in the pan for a few minutes before mashing. Mash with the butter but don’t be tempted to add any milk as this will make the mixture too wet. The potato should be fluffy. Leave to cool but don’t allow to go completely cold.

  4. Blanch the leek by plunging it in boiling salted water for a few minutes until tender but not overcooked. Drain well and set aside.

  5. To form the fish cakes, fold the gherkins and dill into the mashed potato, then adjust the seasoning and add salt and plenty of black pepper. Finally fold in the fish and the leek. Be very gentle, as you don’t want the fish to become mushy. Divide into 8 balls and pat to flatten slightly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  6. Remove the fish cakes from the fridge and dip each first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4. Heat the olive oil in a 30cm pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the fish cakes and fry, turning occasionally until golden brown all over. Transfer to a baking tray. Put in the preheated oven to rest for 10 minutes and to ensure they are thoroughly heated through.

  7. To make the beetroot tartare sauce, mix the mayonnaise, crème fraîche, capers and dill together in a bowl. Fold in the beetroot after that to marble the mixture with its colour.

This recipe is from Kitchen Garden Cookbook: A Year of Italian Scots Recipes by Carina Contini (Frances Lincoln, £25).

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